Where is the Disk Cleanup tool? Its missing in Windows Server 2008!

by techpilot007 21. March 2010 15:47

In our server environments we monitor a few metrics of the servers health.  We have the monitoring software set to email us when any one of the metrics is measured above a predetermined threshold.  At the end of last week we started to receive emails about low disk space on one of our servers in production.  The server is running Windows Server 2008 x64.  By default Server 2008 does not install with the handy little Disk Cleanup program.  I did not know that at the time so I spent a good 15 minutes searching for it thinking I'd find it on my own. 


After the 15 minutes had passed I gave up and turned to Google.com.  This immediately shot back a bunch of results with people complaining that Microsoft did not include Disk Cleanup in base install of Windows Server 2008.  Which I agree, what was Microsoft thinking?  Microsoft’s response to some of these complaints was that if you wanted to use Disk Cleanup then you needed to install the Desktop Experience feature.  If you are trying to clean up the disk to save on space then why would you want to install more features that could potentially use more space then what you are trying to save? 


One post I ran across mentioned that Disk Cleanup really only needed two files to run, cleanmgr.exe and cleanmgr.exe.mui.  Copying them to their respective locations on the server allowed me to run Disk Cleanup but only by going in to the Windows\System32 directory and running the executable.  This would work for me or the other Administrator but if either of us were to be unavailable then the next person to come along would think that Disk Cleanup wasn't on the server since the fancy factory shortcuts aren't there.


For that reason I did some more searching and found this post that described how to add the button back to the properties windows of the drive (found by right clicking on the drive from windows explorer and choosing properties) on older Windows NT family systems.  I gave it a try on a test machine and sure enough it worked.


The only other shortcut missing was one from the Start Menu.

Start - > Programs - > Accessories - > System Tools -> Disk Cleanup


This was easy enough to add by copying the Disk Cleanup.lnk file from a machine which I installed the Desktop Experience feature on to:


"\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\StartMenu\Programs\Accessories\System Tools".


During all my searching to get Disk Cleanup installed without the Desktop Experience feature I came accross a post that described how to add Disk Cleanup to the Context Menu for a drive.  So as long as I was playing with the registry I figured I'd add another convenient way to access Disk Cleanup.


In the end I created a batch file and bundled it with the Disk Cleanup program files, a shortcut file and a reg file (with the registry keys for the Properties Window as well as the Context Menu).  Now deployment of this to our servers is just a case of extracting the zip file and running the batch file.


DiskCleanupInstall.zip (129.93 kb)


I just came accross the need to add Disk Cleanup to a 32 bit install of Windows Server 2008 which requires the 32 bit version of the Cleanup Manager files.  I've now attached a zip file to this post containing those as well.



DiskCleanupInstallx86.zip (128.59 kb)

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Welcome to the blog of an Configuration Manager. This blog is meant to share my thoughts, ideas, and the story of my ever expanding journey to acquire knowledge. It may, at times, include rants about or an expression of excitement over something in the computer realm. The majority of my work is with Windows servers. However, it has started to also include Linux machines. Lately I’ve become the Nagios “expert” within our company as I work towards creating culture of being proactive vs. reactive in regards to Application/Configuration Management.


(The information in this blog is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights implied or otherwise. The views, opinions, and ideas, expressed here are my own, and may not necessarily represent the views and opinions of my employer, past, current, or future.)



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